Row over Vachery Triathlon: Is Surrey the new New Forest?

Residents angry over road closures and disruption could force race onto open roads

by Sarah Barth   April 27, 2013  

Road closed sign

Surrey's County Council leader David Hodge says he will not bow to pressure to cancel the Vachery Triathlon in July, despite opposition from locals due to road closures.

The organisers, Brave Events, say they have been victim to intimidation, bullying and anti-cyclist protests - all fuelled by misinformation about the extent of the road closures.

Councillor Hodge has said that he will review the format and route of the race before it goes ahead, but the organiser says that much of the grandstanding over the event is due to political manoeuvring ahead of the May 2 local elections.

There will be some disruption on race day, on Sunday, July 21, leading to 6am to 2pm road closures - a worst case scenario say organisers, as they will be opened once competitors pass through.

Mark Davis, the company’s chief executive, told Get Surrey that a meeting he held was hijacked by protesters.

He alleged he was threatened outside and said others there reported incidents to the police - despite the council agreeing to the road closures. He also said that the event would bring £10 million to the local economy over the next three years.

Ockley was removed from the triathlon route following protests, but the 40km circuit will still go through Ewhurst, Ellens Green, Forest Green, Holmbury St Mary, Abinger and Okewood Hill.

Mr Davis said: “How many events bring top sports people and that sort of money into the area? You can’t believe how selfish people are because they don’t like cycling. Nobody is going to be trapped. People aren’t going to be stranded on an island.”

A County Hall spokesman said: “We have agreed to the event because it has the potential to provide a £1 million boost to the local economy, following on from the huge success of the Olympics.

“Unfortunately some roads have to be closed in the interests of safety of residents and competitors, but we are working with the organisers to ensure closures are kept to an absolute minimum.”

16 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

How dare they close a road at 6am that's when all the residents in that area are still in bed move the road closures to 9am till 5pm that will be far better. Devil


posted by FATBEGGARONABIKE [733 posts]
27th April 2013 - 10:26


i really does beggar belief doesn't it ..... they're
getting income from it for gods sake !!!

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [922 posts]
27th April 2013 - 12:45


I try my best when posting not to explode in a stream of profanities, but some people...

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
27th April 2013 - 13:19


therevokid wrote:
i really does beggar belief doesn't it ..... they're
getting income from it for gods sake !!!

problem is a vocal group won't, same as in new forest. You have a rich group of commuters/londoners who want to live in the country and have no interest in the locals or what is in the locals interest if it disturbs there idea of how the country should be.

i see enough of it in the Cotswolds, London plated cars trying to run you off the road, Londoners buying second homes then trying to get bridleways re-routed etc. Banning locals from woodland that has been used for decades etc etc etc.

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1881 posts]
27th April 2013 - 13:24



posted by northstar [1113 posts]
27th April 2013 - 14:15


northstar wrote:


I am stronger than Mensa, Miller and Mailer, I spat out Plath and Pinter.

bikeboy76's picture

posted by bikeboy76 [1791 posts]
27th April 2013 - 15:04


Maybe the locals should pay out of their own pockets for an individual rolling road block to be placed around each rider?

posted by Jaltham [67 posts]
27th April 2013 - 22:30


My god! Closing the roads for a maximum of 8 hours on a sunday! How dare they!

posted by Cycle_Jim [282 posts]
27th April 2013 - 22:35


It's either a lot of misinformation supplied to the locals or them being a bunch of neurotic egoists Surprise

London2Paris24: 450km, 24 hours, 5th-6th July 2014

I will miss TdF in Yorskhire!!! Please donate! Big Grin

koko56's picture

posted by koko56 [335 posts]
27th April 2013 - 22:38


I would bloody love it if my road was closed for 8 hours.
Every day would be nice.

posted by Some Fella [905 posts]
27th April 2013 - 23:09


I mean good the council is sticking up for the event.

posted by northstar [1113 posts]
28th April 2013 - 0:28


I don't see anything wrong with the protests.

The New Forest types who wanted to ban the cycle event are clearly idiots but this is a triathlon... I mean, you've got to draw the line somewhere haven't you.


abudhabiChris's picture

posted by abudhabiChris [694 posts]
28th April 2013 - 16:05


Bl***y disgrace. One has to be able to take the Bentley out for a spin to pick up the Sunday Telegraph.

Dunbar, Scotland

posted by mjcycling [13 posts]
29th April 2013 - 10:33


mjcycling wrote:
Bl***y disgrace. One has to be able to take the Bentley out for a spin to pick up the Sunday Telegraph.

I'll just have to send the man servant on his bike Smile

Done Nightrider 2013, 2014 and 2015 for Parkinson's UK. Next year Ride London

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [660 posts]
29th April 2013 - 10:42


hmm, this area's affected by the RideLondonSurrey100/Classic road closures in August. The Leith Hill climb route for the 100 goes through Forest Green, and the Classic route has a loop with Leith Hill that's actually quite similar to this Tri's route.

The RideLondon road closure will be for much longer- is this a case of residents not objecting to the Tri as such, more to having two disruptive road closing events within a couple of weeks of each other? I sort of have sympathy (and will try to convey that through a suitable expression as I cycle through on RideLondon)(maybe not that last bit).

posted by Al__S [880 posts]
29th April 2013 - 11:39


mjcycling wrote:
Bl***y disgrace. One has to be able to take the Bentley out for a spin to pick up the Sunday Telegraph.

More like

One has to be able to take the Bentley out for a spin to deliver the Sunday Telegraph what what what.

posted by FreudianSlit [10 posts]
2nd May 2013 - 16:51